Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

AIDSTAR-One Case Study - Rebuilding Hope: Polyclinic of Hope Care and Treatment Project, Rwanda


Published on

The Polyclinic of Hope in Rwanda takes a comprehensive approach to combating gender-based violence for genocide survivors affected by HIV by facilitating support groups, encouraging income generation activities and providing HIV testing and treatment services.

This case study covers one of the 31 programs from the Africa Gender Compendium, an AIDSTAR-One gender and HIV integration resource. A series of five Africa Gender Compendium case studies is accompanied by a findings report, which describes lessons learned, gaps, and common experiences across the programs.

Download or view this or other gender & HIV resources:

Published in: Health & Medicine
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

AIDSTAR-One Case Study - Rebuilding Hope: Polyclinic of Hope Care and Treatment Project, Rwanda

  1. 1. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIES October 2011Rebuilding HopePolyclinic of Hope Care and Treatment Project:A Holistic Approach for HIV-Positive Women Survivorsof the Rwandan Genocide1 I n 1994, Rwanda experienced a genocide that left 1 million dead and 3 million as refugees. Further, militia youth and military men used mass rape and sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) as weapons of war, leaving tens of thousands of women infected with HIV. When the genocide ended, many of these women were left with nothing—their husbands and children had been killed, their homes taken or burned, their communities torn apart, and their health compromised. Access to medical care and counseling was nearly non-existent immediately after the war and some women—with families, homes, and perhaps jobs just months before—slept on the street, while others found ICRW abandoned housing. These women were left to pick up the pieces,Participants of the Polyclinic ofHope Care and Treatment Project. care for surviving children, and cope with the psychological trauma of loss and violence entirely on their own. Their bodies had been violated, and feeling alone in the world, they later said, had destroyed their spirits. In 1994, soon after the genocide ended, the Rwanda Women Network (RWN; then Church World Service [CWS]) launched a gender-based violence awareness campaign, encouraging women survivors active in CWS to share their stories. Seven women survivors in Kigali cameBy Saranga Jain, together to share their experiences of violence and loss and provideMargaret Greene, each other support. As time progressed, the number of womenZayid Douglas, exchanging their experiences increased, and a space had to be rented and staffed with volunteer nurses. This space became the PolyclinicMyra Betron, and of Hope (PoH), a center established to provide women survivors withKatherine Fritz 1 An AIDSTAR-One compendium and additional case studies of programs in sub-Saharan Africa that integrate multiple PEPFAR gender strategies into their work can be found at focus_areas/gender/resources/compendium_africa?tab=findings.AIDSTAR-OneJohn Snow, Inc.1616 North Ft. Myer Drive, 11th Floor This publication was produced by the AIDS Support and Technical Assistance ResourcesArlington, VA 22209 USA (AIDSTAR-One) Project, Sector 1, Task Order 1.Tel.: +1 703-528-7474 USAID Contract # GHH-I-00-07-00059-00, funded January 31, 2008.Fax: +1 703-528-7480 Disclaimer: The author’s views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Agency for International Development or the United States Government.
  2. 2. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIES much-needed medical care and trauma counseling. Within the first PEPFAR GENDER year, however, women said that they could not remain healthy even STRATEGIES with these services because the lack of shelter and food left them ill ADDRESSED BY THE or unable to take antiretroviral therapy (ART). They could not afford POLYCLINIC OF HOPE to purchase food and had no land to grow food. Being homeless CARE AND TREATMENT also affected their morale and made it difficult for them to move on PROJECT: emotionally from the trauma of the genocide. These women have • Reducing violence and coercion found it difficult to get treatment and care because of the stigma attached to both HIV and GBV, particularly in government hospitals • Increasing women and girls’ (Amnesty International 2004). legal protection • Increasing women and girls’ In 1997, newly established from CWS, RWN took over PoH with the access to income and productive aim of addressing women’s needs holistically. In addition to providing resources, including education. basic medical care, ART, and HIV and trauma counseling, RWN rehabilitated 150 homes from 1997 to 2000 and, in 2000, built the Village of Hope, which provided shelter for 20 women genocide survivors and their families. Today, Village of Hope includes a community center where 150 residents and 4,000 individuals in the broader community learn vocational skills and participate in other health, educational, and socioeconomic activities. 2 In 2005, RWN began the Care and Treatment Project (CTP), which provides a package of health and socioeconomic services for HIV-positive women survivors of the genocide and their families. RWN also added projects to raise awareness of women’s human and legal rights, to provide outreach services to people living with HIV and orphans and vulnerable children, and to build community networks as a means to share lessons and best practices with other service providers. This case study focuses on the PoH CTP located in Kigali. AIDSTAR- One staff conducted in-depth interviews with key informants at the National AIDS Control Council, the U.K. Department for International Development office in Rwanda, and the Ministry of Gender and Women in Development. They also conducted group and individual interviews with project staff and held focus group discussions with five groups of women—caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children, income generation activity participants, the “pioneers” (the initial group of PoH participants), user group members (project participants that have been selected to collect feedback from peers), and Village of Hope residents—and one group of men participating in the project. 2 Village of Hope received the UN Development Programme and Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS 2006 Red Ribbon Award and the 2007 UN-Habitat Dubai International Award as a best practice for improving the lives of children, widows, and families affected by the genocide.2 AIDSTAR-One | October 2011
  3. 3. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIESGender and HIV in Rwanda Rwanda’s response to the HIV epidemic uses the “Three Ones” approach, with one nationalSeventeen years after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda is coordinating body (The National AIDS Controlrebuilding its infrastructure, addressing poverty, and Commission [CNLS]), one national strategic plan ofincreasing access to health and education. Women, action, and one national monitoring and evaluationmen, and children are still coping with the effects framework. CNLS, established in 2000 under theof the genocide, including HIV. In Rwanda, the HIV Ministry of Health, administers the strategic planprevalence is 3 percent among adults, according to at the national level, alongside the Treatment andthe last Demographic and Health Survey in 2005, Research AIDS Center, which leads HIV treatmentyet HIV prevalence is significantly higher among and research.women than men, at 3.6 percent versus 2.3 percent,respectively (Institut National de la Statistique du District AIDS Control Committees in each of theRwanda and ORC Macro 2006). This difference in country’s 30 districts implement the NationalHIV prevalence between men and women is due, in Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS, 2009–2012. Civilpart, to the mass rape of women during the genocide. society is organized under a number of umbrellaRwandan women are also limited by gender norms organizations that coordinate the government and civiland power dynamics between the sexes in negotiating society responses to HIV (CNLS 2009). To ensuresafe sex both inside and outside of marriage. GBV coordination of services between government andis relatively common, with 31 percent of women civil society, each District AIDS Control Committee isreporting having experienced an act of physical composed of representatives from district-level publicviolence since the age of 15, most often at the hands health offices and civil society. Each district is requiredof a husband or partner (UN Development Fund to offer a comprehensive package of servicesfor Women 2008). Furthermore, rape was the most that include voluntary HIV testing and counseling,frequent crime reported in the first three months of prevention of mother-to-child transmission, prevention2007 (UN General Assembly Special Session 2008). and treatment of opportunistic infections, and nutrition supplements for pregnant mothers andThe Rwandan government has responded to the poor individuals on their first six months of ART.HIV epidemic by launching a coordinated campaign Each district must also work with at least onefor prevention, care, and treatment, with strong nongovernmental organization (NGO) or civil societypolitical leadership starting with the president. organization partner (Joint UN Programme on HIV/Among its successes, the government estimates that AIDS 2008). An online HIV database maps service70 percent of people in need of ART are currently providers and their progress at the district level (Jointon treatment. The government has also ensured UN Programme on HIV/AIDS 2008).that the National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS,2009–2012, is aligned with Rwanda’s Economic CNLS works with the Ministry of Gender and WomenDevelopment and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2008– in Development, which coordinates the government’s2012, in which HIV is a cross-cutting issue across gender activities. The National Women’s Council,all 12 sectors, and Rwanda’s Vision 2020, which established in 2003 under the Ministry of Gender anddescribed the country’s long-term development Women in Development, seeks to mobilize and buildgoals. In January 2009, the government established the capacity of women in communities to addressthe Gender Monitoring Office, which ensures that their needs and meet Rwanda’s development goals,gender is mainstreamed at all levels and that gender and works to link gender efforts in communities withdisaggregated data is collected. national priorities. Polyclinic of Hope Care and Treatment Project: A Holistic Approach for HIV-Positive Women Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide 3
  4. 4. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIESIn response to women’s loss of property during thegenocide, in 1999 women were given the right to The Polyclinic of Hope Careinherit property from their parents and spouses, and Treatment Project’sand male and female children were given equalinheritance rights. Women’s right to own property Approachwas further strengthened in the constitution and in PoH CTP uses a holistic, comprehensive approachthe 2005 Land Law. However, women’s ability to to address the various needs of women GBVbenefit from these laws is constrained by their lack survivors. The project recognizes that women’sof knowledge of their rights, their need for legal experiences as a result of the genocide includesupport to claim their rights in court, and the general violence, trauma, poverty, ill health, and poorprecedence of customary law that denies women nutrition. It also recognizes that a range of healthrights that may be stipulated in formal law. Further, and socioeconomic factors serve as barriers tothe laws only apply to women with legal marriage HIV prevention, care, and treatment. Therefore,contracts and cannot be applied retroactively, which the project provides a package of services toleaves out many women genocide survivors. meet the multiple and interlinked needs of womenRwanda has ratified numerous declarations, and their families. It has also been designed tocharters, and conventions opposing GBV. In identify needs on an ongoing basis through formalSeptember 2008, Rwanda passed a bill making participant feedback and informal feedback fromall forms of GBV illegal, including marital rape,with penalties for each crime. While awarenessof the law is high and the police and the judicialsystem are enforcing it effectively, violence rateswithin marriage continue to be high. The policedepartment has established a gender desk in everypolice station to assist violence victims with policeservices, improve their access to medical andlegal services, and raise awareness among localauthorities on GBV and human rights.The government is now addressing the specificneeds of women genocide survivors by ensuringthey receive health services, including ART, atgovernment hospitals, and through the Victims ofthe Genocide Fund, which provides them medicalinsurance, financial assistance to send orphans toschool, and shelter and rental assistance. Finally,the government reinstated the Gacaca Court, acommunity-level traditional justice system that aimsto promote reconciliation and addresses crimessuch as murder, bodily injury, and property damage, ICRWwhile those accused of planning or leading thegenocide, torture, rape, or other sexual crimes are Polyclinic of Hope pharmacist preparing drugtried in the national criminal courts. therapy.4 AIDSTAR-One | October 2011
  5. 5. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIESproject staff as they implement support groups, transferring skills and responsibility to community-workshops, and other services. As new needs are based caregivers and government facilities to provideidentified, the project adapts its activities to include health services, and to women and their familiesnew components. to earn income. In this way, CTP aims to transform HIV-positive women genocide survivors into changeCTP uses a family-centered approach, recognizing agents who can help other women, participate inthat the health and well-being of family members income generation activities, lead support groups,strongly influence that of women. The project and take on other empowering roles. The project’stherefore provides health and social services to broader aim is to reduce overall HIV prevalence,women’s husbands and children. This approach is in mortality rates, and opportunistic infection ratesaccordance with Rwandan policy that recommends a among women genocide survivors and their familiesfamily-centered approach to HIV care. (Elliott and Mbithi 2008). The PoH CTP employs a doctor, three nurses/Development and pharmacists, a counselor, a social worker, and an income generation officer. Each participant isImplementation assessed on intake and is directed to relevant staff to help address her specific needs. When newWith funding from the U.K. Department for needs are identified or emergency needs arise post-International Development and the UN Voluntary intake, PoH CTP’s holistic approach allows for staffFund for Victims of Torture, and in partnership with to nimbly address these needs, whether it involvesthe Imbuto Foundation and the Survivors Fund,3 arranging for ambulatory transport of participants toCTP is implemented in four areas where high rates urgent care clinics or providing a hardship allowanceof mass rape occurred during the genocide: the PoH to those participants who have been turned awayin Kigali, the Village of Hope in Gasabo District, and from their homes. If staff members are unable tocenters in Bugesera District in Eastern Province and address these needs, staff will then refer participantsHuye District in Southern Province. CTP has other to other service providers.implementing partners including the Associationdes Veuves du Génocide (Agahozo) and Solace PoH CTP’s health services include voluntary HIVMinistries. This case study focuses on the PoH CTP. testing and counseling, trauma counseling, ART services, basic medical care, medical referralCTP was developed with three goals for HIV-positive services, and outreach via mobile visits. Individualwomen genocide survivors and their families: 1) and group counseling sessions for women livingto provide quality HIV care and treatment, 2) to with HIV cover topics such as prevention of mother-strengthen community-based care and develop to-child transmission, prevention for positives,income generation activities, and 3) to ensure treatment options, and drug adherence. Traumaaccess to government services and participation in counseling sessions cover issues such as angercommunity programs. These goals simultaneously and fear management, fear of dying, and positiveaddress women’s immediate needs—for example, living. PoH CTP provides food supplements to verythrough clinic-based health services and home- poor participants in their first six months of ART. Thebased care—and their long-term needs—by project monitors participants on ART to ensure they are accessing services and adhering to medications.3 Formerly in partnership with the Prevention and Care for Familiesagainst AIDS, an initiative of Rwanda’s First Lady and the Survivor’s It strengthens community-based care by providingFund. health and counseling outreach via mobile units, as Polyclinic of Hope Care and Treatment Project: A Holistic Approach for HIV-Positive Women Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide 5
  6. 6. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIES well as helping caregivers monitor patients and responding to alerts PROJECT INNOVATIONS on ill patients. • lexibility to add on project F In response to an external review that found that it needed to components in response to strengthen its community-based services and income-generating participants’ needs activities, in June 2008, PoH CTP increased efforts to provide income • roject components targeted to P generation support to CTP participants (Elliott and Mbithi 2008). meet women’s most urgent and Women are encouraged to form groups of seven to nine individuals, basic needs develop proposals for an income-generation activity, and secure commitment from local authorities before submitting the proposal • trong recognition of connections S to RWN. RWN provides groups with business training and monitors among violence, HIV infection, each group’s business. The PoH CTP income generation officer poverty, nutrition and basic health, facilitates vocational skills training and provides start-up funds. Income and legal and human rights generation activities include cosmetic stalls, clothing and shoe shops, • apitalizes on peer support C tailoring, animal husbandry, and selling of food items. as crucial for post-conflict and violence recovery Where they are not able to provide services, PoH CTP refers • trong link between clinic-based S participants to government services and community programs to services and social services ensure it is meeting its long-term objective of transferring services to sustainable government-employed service providers. These include • amily-centered approach to F government health facilities for basic medical care, paralegals HIV care provides treatment and and the Gacaca for legal and genocide-related justice issues, and support to sexual partners and police for incidents of violence. PoH CTP works with other PoH children projects to ensure comprehensive and/or complementary services. • ictims advocating for change. V For example, PoH participants that are not survivors of the 1994 genocide but are living with or affected by HIV are supported by the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project, another project that builds capacity of civil society groups to support, treat, and care for those living with and affected by HIV. In addition to CTP, PoH engages in a variety of other activities, including those concerning legal rights specific to property and inheritance, and advocacy and networking. For example, CTP caregivers participate, alongside community members and government administrators, in trainings in inheritance and property rights offered by RWN and nine local partners. RWN developed a paralegal program to provide legal assistance for women, to provide additional training to paralegals to represent clients and mediate in the Gacaca process, and to train community members on women’s legal rights pertaining to inheritance, property, constitutional rights, and violence. RWN is also affiliated with local, regional, and international partners to build its own and its partners’ institutional capacity by sharing lessons learned and best practices in community mobilization, home-based care, and property and inheritance rights,6 AIDSTAR-One | October 2011
  7. 7. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIES shelter. Although the income generation component of PoH CTP had only been in operation for eight months at the time of interview, 21 groups of approximately eight women each had formed and were active in small-scale farming, animal husbandry, and trade. The income generation officer noted that participants have already benefited significantly from the project by taking care of urgent needs. Participants as well as the PoH CTP counselor noted that through income generation activities, peers (fellow participants) have been able to pay rent and/or school fees, refurbish houses and purchase food, clothes, and mobile phones. With financial security, women also are experiencing an attitudinal/psychological change, according to the income generation officer, and are reconnecting with the community and feel they are regaining control over their lives. “They see that their future is bright,” she explained. ICRW Income generation activity participants at a shared Project participants said that although other cosmetics stall. programs provide assistance to women genocide survivors and people living with HIV, PoH is theand currently works with more than 40 partner only one to provide comprehensive services thatgroups including community-based organizations, address the range of needs of HIV-positive womenassociations, and cooperatives. genocide survivors. PoH CTP participants said that the project coordinates with the Victims of the Genocide Fund in identifying genocide survivorsWhat Worked Well and linking them with assistance, and with various NGO and government service providers, to ensureThe PoH CTP project has had a significant impact individuals receive comprehensive services that areon women’s health. Monitoring data show that not duplicated elsewhere.beneficiaries’ health has improved and that thosereceiving ART have increased CD4 counts. In Another strength of PoH CTP is that it buildsinterviews for this case study, women in “user sustainability into project activities using multiplegroups” that the PoH established to provide project avenues. The income generation activities, forfeedback said that opportunistic infections have example, decrease participants’ dependency ondecreased since PoH began. PoH and other service providers. As one income generation activity participant said, “I can go to theAccording to the clinic’s income generation garden and now grow something for the home. Beforeofficer and PoH CTP participants, individuals who I had nothing to do with my land. I had no hope.”participate in the income generation activities arehealthier than those who do not because these Participants also shared their knowledge with othersparticipants now can afford food, medicine, and in the community, increasing project reach. For Polyclinic of Hope Care and Treatment Project: A Holistic Approach for HIV-Positive Women Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide 7
  8. 8. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIES example, women said they are educating their children about HIV EVALUATION prevention, caregiving, and positive living. PoH caregivers said they try to encourage family members to care for sick kin. They also are A program review of the PoH CTP educating community members about HIV and addressing HIV-related conducted in 2009 found that stigma and discrimination. more participants are accessing ART than ever and that the CTP According to focus group participants, PoH CTP is utilizing a has strengthened its offering of participatory approach through community user groups that monitor care and treatment services to the quality of the clinic’s services. These user groups consist of survivors and their families (Bellis, ijisho mboni, or “watching eyes,” peers who are nominated by fellow Gahongayire, and Ntuzinda 2009). participants because of their ability to keep secrets and represent Clinic participants also reported their concerns. By advocating on the community’s behalf, the user that the center makes an effort to groups ensure women receive all the services they need. provide them with services that are not stigmatizing (and did not draw PoH CTP trains women on their legal rights, including inheritance attention to the patient’s status as and property rights. This has a tremendous impact on their sense a genocide survivor), and offers a of empowerment and self-worth. As one woman explained, “...Now wider range of services than those I am a leader...I am now an advocate for women. When we have offered in government clinics. problems, we write [them] down and now know to go to the local authority.” Women also have renewed hope of returning to the homes and land they had lost during the war. Women trained in rights conduct theater performances in remote areas on their experiences during the genocide, how to reconcile with perpetrators, and how to use the Gacaca process. A woman described the value of this training: “PoH is better because they teach us about our rights, about the laws...They’ve really helped us rebuild ourselves.” Another woman added, “Most of us have no education. But we know the laws. We know our rights.” One of the seven women who originally came together for support shortly after the genocide sums up her experience this way: “We didn’t know any of the people at PoH. We started with seven women. We met at PoH. We started sharing ideas. But all we could do was cry and then go back home...The initial thing they did for us was they gave us shelter, clothes, blankets, cooking pots. They really recreated us.” Lessons Learned Women genocide survivors who participate in PoH CTP said that the project is successful in large part because staff treat women, particularly women living with HIV, with compassion. “In other services, there is no heart in the care you receive. Here there is8 AIDSTAR-One | October 2011
  9. 9. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIESheart,” explained one participant. Women said that be flexible enough to quickly respond to newlythis treatment created a reputation for the clinic that identified needs.spread by word of mouth and drew other women to it. A key lesson of PoH CTP is the value of buildingPoH CTP provides two key components—counseling successful partnerships with government and otherand support groups—that are critical for post-conflict service providers. Prior to the project, womensettings and recovery from violence, according to survivors were reluctant to go to government clinics,project participants. HIV programs in such settings particularly for HIV services. According to theparticularly must provide these services because 2008 review of CTP, “The stigma associated withHIV is directly connected to experiences of rape and HIV and their status as survivors seem to [be] theviolence for many of these women. Participants said main barriers to service use. It was reported that atthat the project helped them gain perspective on their government services they may actually meet personsown situation as they met others who had similar, who raped them and that they were not treated withor worse, problems. Sharing their experiences, respect” (Elliott and Mbithi 2008). The review notesprogress, lessons, and successes gives them hope. that in some cases, participants are sending their family members to government facilities but are notAs the project developed, it became clear that food accessing them themselves, which poses a problemand shelter are still key basic needs that women are in providing effective family care.struggling to meet. Women interviewed repeatedlysaid that these two needs were barriers to other While many still hesitate to use government services,services at PoH CTP, as women need adequate some women interviewed for this case studynutrition to benefit from ART. noted that they are increasingly feeling welcomed in government hospitals, and they attribute thisProject staff reported that a holistic approach to change to coordination between PoH and theaddressing HIV takes time. Staff must seek continual hospital, the reputation of PoH in the community,feedback from project participants to identify new and PoH’s sensitization work with government staff.needs, and these must be integrated into the current They reported that they believe affiliation with PoHpackage of services in the context of resource and increases the likelihood of receiving better treatmentstaff limitations. At the same time, the project must because of PoH’s relationship with hospital staff. This bodes well for the project’s sustainability. PoH expects to partner with the Ministry of Health to transform its medical services into a government- standard clinic to ensure continued service availability for women genocide survivors and their participation in outreach programming that builds their capacity. Toward that end, some clinic staff have been mentored by the government health system in order to continue service provision. However, PoH will continue to provide psychosocial care, its core area of expertise, to clinic visitors. Further training of government staff in providing a welcoming environment and addressing HIV-related ICRW stigma and discrimination could further increasePolyclinic of Hope Kigali entrance. women’s willingness to use government hospitals. Polyclinic of Hope Care and Treatment Project: A Holistic Approach for HIV-Positive Women Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide 9
  10. 10. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIESChallenges for them are particularly vulnerable to illness and hunger and require additional assistance, and aProgrammatic gaps: Despite its goal to provide new generation of orphaned young girls are at riskcomprehensive services, PoH CTP staff and of willingly or unwillingly engaging in unsafe sex.participants identified specific challenges and gaps. Need to target men: While other governmentProject staff note that the limited space in the clinic and NGO clinics addressing HIV work with couples,is a barrier for providing comprehensive services PoH only targets women. As a result, PoH is notand responding to newly identified needs. The known as a place where men can seek services,tight space is also inadequate to accommodate the though some men attend HIV prevention supportgrowing number of participants and compromises groups and community activities to raise awarenesspatient rights such as confidentiality. such as PoH theater performances. “Men don’tThe project requires further support in addressing participate because organizations target rights, shelter, and income generation Women then sensitize men [about participating] butactivities. For example, project staff reported that men won’t come because they feel like these arelack of access to lawyers forces dependence women’s services,” explained one male participanton paralegals and volunteers for legal aid and at the Village of “It is one of the concerns we have as aninstitution; and it is a concern of the women [in our Men interviewed for this case study said that theproject],” reported one staff member. Women also main issues they face are HIV, unemployment, andrepeatedly cited shelter as an ongoing urgent need. trauma from the genocide. Men have access toAdditionally, according to a review of the overall health services including ART, HIV counseling, andCTP project (across three clinics), the income trauma counseling at government and NGO clinics,generation component of the project is not yet fully yet tend to avoid health clinics; engaging them indeveloped and as a result, many participants are health programs and positive health behavior isstill dependent on the project for food assistance still a challenge. The caregivers interviewed forthan had been planned (Elliott and Mbithi 2008). this study reported that few men are caregiversA particular challenge is the absence of technical themselves, as they feel that caregiving is askills for income generation, including project woman’s task. One woman reported, “We enteredselection, design, and development of business deep into the villages, as volunteers, as caregivers,plans (Elliott and Mbithi 2008). to help women and children. Even the men, we tried to approach them. But they weren’t easy toPoH CTP staff reported gaps in reaching both approach. They complicated the problem—theythe broader community and select target groups. have a culture of dominating women.” Further, manyFor example, the project targets activities to HIV- men refuse to use condoms and some believepositive women genocide survivors primarily women bring HIV into the family, according to someand does not work to sensitize the broader PoH caregivers. Currently, PoH CTP does notcommunity on HIV, including HIV-related stigma have strategies for involving men and its activitiesand discrimination. This affects uptake of services do not address harmful male norms or behaviors.after participants leave the clinic, as they may be However, male involvement could help alleviatediscouraged upon hearing messages stigmatizing women’s caregiving burden, help women betterHIV in the community. Additionally, older women negotiate safer sex at home, and support women inwho have lost children and have no one to care reducing levels of physical violence and GBV.10 AIDSTAR-One | October 2011
  11. 11. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIESFuture Programming Elliott, L., and P. Mbithi. 2008. 2008 Annual Review, IMBUTO Foundation-SURF (formerly PACFA-SURF): Care & Treatment Project (CTP). London: U.K.According to recommendations in a 2008 program Department for International, PoH CTP needs to re-examine its exitstrategies, including training clinic staff to transfer PoH Institut National de la Statistique du Rwanda andclinic-based services to the government. The review ORC Macro. 2006. Rwanda Demographic and Healthalso recommends more attention to income generation, Survey 2005. Calverton, MD: Institut National de laincluding involving the families of women genocide Statistique du Rwanda and ORC Macro. Available atsurvivors in income generation to ensure sustained in women’s lives (Elliott and Mbithi 2008). (accessed June 2011)The funding for PoH CTP ended in March 2010, Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS. 2008. Rwanda:after which the Ministry of Health began overseeing Country Situation. Available at medical portion of activities to ensure pub/FactSheet/2008/sa08_rwa_en.pdf (accessed Juneparticipants’ continued access to ART and other 2011)health services. RWN is currently seeking funding The National AIDS Control Commission (CNLS). continue the psychosocial care components National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS, 2009-2012.of the project, including HIV counseling, trauma Kigali, Rwanda: CNLS.counseling, food supplementation, home-basedcare, and the income generation program. UN Development Fund for Women. 2008. Baseline Survey on Sexual and Gender Based Violence inProject staff also reported that an extended PoH Rwanda. Kigali, Rwanda: UN Development Fund forCTP would seek to engage men, recognizing that Women.their experiences in the genocide have left themwith many of the challenges experienced by women UN General Assembly Special Session. 2008. UNGASSand that women will benefit if men are supported. Country Progress Report, Republic of Rwanda (draft). Available at, RWN has initiated CTP project activities, rwanda_2008_country_progress_report_en.pdfunder the auspices of PoH replication, in other (accessed June 2011)conflict-affected countries, including Burundi, theDemocratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and RESOURCESSudan by training local NGOs in the application ofthe PoH model. g Integrating Multiple PEPFAR Gender Strategies to Improve HIV Interventions: Recommendations from Five Case Studies of Programs in Africa: www.REFERENCES recommendationsAmnesty International. 2004. Rwanda: “Marked forDeath,” Rape Survivors Living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda. Integrating Multiple Gender Strategies to Improve HIVNew York: Amnesty International. and AIDS Interventions: A Compendium of Programs inBellis, K., L. Gahongayire, and G. Ntuzinda. 2009. 2009 Africa. Polyclinic of Hope Care and Treatment Project (p.Annual Review–Care & Treatment Project (CTP). London: 108): Department for International Development. compendium_Final.pdf Polyclinic of Hope Care and Treatment Project: A Holistic Approach for HIV-Positive Women Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide 11
  12. 12. AIDSTAR-One | CASE STUDY SERIESCONTACTS Commission, Christine Tuyisenge at the National Women Council, and Isabelle Cardinal and Jean Gakwaya at theRwanda Women Network U.K. Department for International Development. ThanksP.O. Box 3157, Kigali, Rwanda to Ignatius Ahimbisibwe, an excellent translator. Thanks toTel: + 250 583 662 the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief GenderWebsite: Technical Working Group for their support and careful review of this case study. The authors would also likeMary Balikungeri, Director to thank the AIDSTAR-One project, including staff fromEmail:, Encompass, LLC; John Snow, Inc.; and the Center for Research on Women for their support of the development and publication of these case studies that grew out of the Gender Compendium of Programs inACKNOWLEDGMENTS Africa. The authors would especially like to thank the truly courageous women genocide survivors who shared theirThe authors would like to thank Mary Balikungeri, Peter stories. They provide a lesson to all on forgiveness.Turyahikayo, Winnie Muhumuza, Annette Mukiga, andPeninah Abatoni at the Rwanda Women Network (RWN)for sharing information about the activities of the Polyclinic RECOMMENDED CITATIONof Hope Care and Treatment Project. The authors aregrateful to the hardworking staff at the RWN centers in Jain, Saranga, Margaret Greene, Zayid Douglas, MyraKigali, Bugusera, and Village of Hope: Dr. Tom Muyango, Betron, and Katherine Fritz. 2011. Rebuilding Hope—Mary Mukesharugo, Jane Mukabagire, Jeanne d’Arc Polyclinic of Hope Care and Treatment Project: AKayitesi, Innocent Sheja, Chantal Umubyeyi, Jacqueline Holistic Approach for HIV-Positive Women Survivors ofNiwemugeni, Liberatha Mukankusi, and Patience Kayitesi. the Rwandan Genocide. Case Study Series. Arlington,The authors also appreciate the helpful insight received VA: USAID’s AIDS Support and Technical Assistancefrom Dr. Anita Asiimwe at the National AIDS Control Resources, AIDSTAR-One, Task Order 1. AIDSTAR-One’s Case Studies provide insight into innovative HIV programs and approaches around the world. These engaging case studies are designed for HIV program planners and implementers, documenting the steps from idea to intervention and from research to practice. Please sign up at to receive notification of HIV-related resources, including additional case studies focused on emerging issues in HIV prevention, treatment, testing and counseling, care and support, gender integration and more.12 AIDSTAR-One | October 2011